on 1 June 2007
Not too much to say about Strange Days -it's probably my favourite of all The Doors albums. I bought my first Doors LP (Waiting for The Sun) in 1968. In mono, LOL. They've been with me all my life, it seems, and Strange Days is utter perfection. Vocally, instrumentally, productionwise, it is just *perfect*, & remains exactly so after four decades, and will going on six, seven, fifteen.
Two songs that haven't been mentioned: the wonderful Moonlight Drive (the song that Jim sang to Ray on Venice Beach that got the whole trip started) and My Eyes Have Seen You, a breathtaking example of The Doors musical & production values thst set them apart from way back to now. Have to disagree re Horse Latitudes - a spoken poem with a tremendous atmospheric soundtrack. Fits in perfectly.
I cannot imagine my life without this record.
"Strange Days" continued the breakout of the Doors, back in the flowering of the 1960s music scene -- which is admittedly a great place to start. Their sophomore album showed no signs of a slump, polishing up the rough blues'n'rock of their first album, and continuing into weirder, more intense territory.
It opens with the dark, hallucinatory beauty of "Strange Days," with Jim Morrison's rich voice singing distantly, "Strange days have found us/Strange days have tracked us down/They're going to destroy/Our casual joys..." His melancholy vocals are totally at odds with the energetic drums, keyboard and bouncy melody.
It's followed by the affectionate-sounding "You're Lost, Little Girl," and the deliciously stompy-bluesy "Love Me Two Times." Having hooked listeners in, the Doors spill out a stream of bluesy rock'n'roll -- sometimes it's dusty and raw, and sometimes it's flavoured with keyboard. And at the end there's a haunting pair of slow, atmospheric rockers -- the darkly enticing "I Can't See Your Face in My Mind," and the sprawling electrobluesy "When the Music's Over."
"Strange Days" does pretty much the same thing as the Doors' first album -- a catchy intro, blues-rocky middle parts, and a haunting, long outro that lingers in your mind. The big difference is that in this album, their music is less striking, but it is more polished and experienced.
That polish is especially present in the music -- Robby Krieger played some brilliantly flexible guitar, whether it was lean rock riffs or a funky little tune, and John Densmore was equally good with some quirky drums. Ray Manzarek flavoured the whole thing with marimba and colourful waves of keyboard. Most of the time this worked -- the only real exception is the dark, mildly frightening "Horse Latitudes," which is a good experimental track, but it feels out of place.
But Morrison gave the music that extra boost into genius. He had a rich, full voice that could flower into a croon, a murmur, or an impassioned howl. And his songwriting was pretty much poetry, full of strange imagery and passions ("The face in the mirror won't stop/The girl in the window won't drop/A feast of friends/Alive, she cried/Waiting for me outside...").
The Doors continued doing what they did best in "Strange Days," a blend of blues and psychedelic rock'n'roll. Definitely a deserving classic.
on 7 February 2007
The Doors back catalogue has been due a makeover for years, and wow, haven't they spent some effort on it. The sound quality on these discs has never been bettered in my opinion. If you're thinking of upgrading your entire Doors collection, consider the Perception Box Set, if not read on...
My Eyes Have Seen You... Unhappy Girl... Strange Days... When the Music's Over... The Doors' second album Strange Days takes up where the first album leaves off. And, if anything, it's a more cohesive body of work. It features the Doors experimenting with Moogs and overdubs (in a quaint 60s way). Fab. When the Music's Over, press the start button again.
The bonus cuts here are alternate takes of Love Me Two Times and People are Strange. Pity an alternative take of Strange Days didn't show up in the archives...
The Doors' second album `Strange Days' was released in late 1967, less than a year after their sensational eponymous debut.
From the arresting album cover image of circus freaks performing on a sidewalk to the moody, minor-key dominant melodies, SD was an unfashionably dark portrait of the 1967 counter-culture, dominated as it was by utopian-inspired psychedelia and demands for a radical re-ordering of societal norms. Oozing from Morrison's poetic lyrics delivered in his haunting baritone are signs of uncertainty and looming discord ("Straaaange days have found us, Straaange days have tracked us down...as we run from the day to a strange night of stone"), an early prophecy of the riots and violent social protest which burst onto the streets and campuses of the Western world in 1968. `People are Strange' captures precisely the loneliness and isolation of city life in the late 20th century, its jaunty keyboard-driven rhythm at odds with the subject matter of Morrison's menacing lyrics hinting at psychosis and alienation.
SD is at the same time The Doors' most confident and focussed album but the darkest. It has the strongest, most consistent theme. It may fall just short of the seminal debut and the curtain-closer `LA Woman' in moments of sheer musical brilliance, but nevertheless lingers long in the memory and has a special place in the rock music history of the 1960s.
The 2007 40th Anniversary re-mix is superb, BTW; though the pair of `extras' (a spare take of `Love me two Times' and a few minutes of false starts and chat prior to recording `People are Strange') are hardly worthy of inclusion.
on 11 September 2012
STRANGE DAYS, like the best music of the major bands of 1960s, encapsulates the disillusionment of the youth and a need for a radical reordering of society. In many ways, STRANGE DAYS is The Doors' best album. Dark, melodic, and richly poetic, nowhere else do they manage to create such a compelling portrait of the blossoming counterculture. Gone is the more poppy elements of their debut. Instead, The Doors fill STRANGE DAYS with songs about lost girls, isolation ("People Are Strange"), radically shifting cultural norms (title cut), and psychedelic epic poetry about wanting the world and wanting it right now ("When the Music's Over)". "Love Me Two Times," a song about a solider going away to Viet Nam and wanting to be with his lover, expresses the frustration that many felt at that senseless war. "Moonlight Drive," the song Jim sung to Manzarek when he wanted to start a band, is a love song, but one that turns musical convention on its head. "Horse Latitudes," a wonderfully odd, very disturbing recording of Morrison reading one of his poems, further contributes to the very dark, moody atmosphere that the band successfully maintains throughout the entire album. "When the Music's Over," a brooding masterpiece, deals with ecological issues, organized religion, and wanting the world right now. This is the true centrepiece of the album, and, as the Amazon review says, a rallying cry to the budding counterculture.
The cover art is one of the best and most appropriate covers I have ever seen for an album. The cover gives you a glimpse into what you will find on the album: a freakshow, a world where people are trying to find their own way and how the generation gap grew leaps and bounds in the 1960s. The cover art tells us we a long way from the staunch, McCarthy-driven 1950s, where the world made a lot more sense to people. Albums like this would never have been released during the 1940s and 1950s. Just by looking at the cover, you could tell this was a radical departure from the musical sensibilities of the preceeding decade. This definitely isn't your parent's music.
What makes STRANGE DAYS so revelatory is how undeniably dark this is. In many ways, this very dark undercurrent makes the music on STRANGE DAYS all the more radical. Released at the height of the "All you need is love" mentality embraced by much of the counterculture, The Doors offer this visionary music. Buy wedding dark, deeply apocalyptic lyrics and very moody, depressing music to very poppy elements and consistently stunning melodies, The Doors present a very different and much more dangerous picture of society. Much of the genius of STRANGE DAYS is, while it is very poppy, it totally reinvents the subject matter of pop, creating an aural snapshot of the fear, uncertainty, and growing social and political unrest that was rapidly spreading throughout the youth in the 1960s. While The Beatles were singing it's getting better, The Doors, much like T. S. Eliot, were expressing fear and isolation and confronting the dark undercurrents of their time.
All of these elements, along with The Doors' unique sound and undeniably powerful musical talents, make STRANGE DAYS one of rock's most essential albums. Although I prefer the debut to this for sentimental reasons, The Doors never equaled this masterpiece again. They simply could not maintain the densely rich, dark atmosphere, the genius song-writing, or the fantastic psychedelia. This, along with THE DOORS, stand tall among the very best that rock has to offer.
on 30 April 2001
Most Doors' fans will nominate either the first album or L.A.Woman as their favourites, but this is the real gem of the collection. Whilst the songs with the greater initial impact were included on the impressive debut album, Strange Days has a deeper, more languid feel to it. The movement from 4 track to 8 track recording and the use of a bass player broadened the Doors' sound and is used here to great effect to heighten a sense of mystery which seeps through the album. A collection of twisted, yet beautiful pychedelic pop songs with darkness running just below the surface. It culminates in the even darker epic and their first foray into the overtly political, When The Music's Over. Released in the same year as the debut album and often overlooked because of it, Strange Days is the last example of the Doors' early burst of creativity. If you're new to the Doors, get the first album. Then buy this one to see how this band can get inside your head. Often cited as the band's own favourite.
on 17 February 2007
I never knew this CD was going to be this good when I first bought it. In fact, I got it for the sake of filling up my collection of The Doors' music. How wrong I was. This is their greatest album out of the six studio albums they have released. The title track is a bit eerie yet catchy at the same time, "When The Music's Over" is a masterpiece, considerably better and more cheerful than "The End", which was released on the band's debut album. The blending of "Horse Latitudes" with "Moonlight Drive" was a great job, and "Love Me Two Times" is just a track that is out of this world. "People Are Strange" is quite good as well, "My Eyes Have Seen You" is also very enjoyable. "I Can't See Your Face In My Mind" brings out so much emotion, especially the sadder side, but that doesn't stop the song to be The Doors hard at work. "You're Lost Little Girl" and "Unhappy Girl" are pleasing to listen to, which are necessary and crucial songs to the album that link up all the masterpieces. From happy to sad, and from eerie to catchy, this CD is essential in not just The Doors collection, but any CD collection. I'd rate one hundred and three stars if I had the choice, but sadly, it's only five. So, buy, stick it in your CD player, play from beginning to end and start all over again!
on 5 May 2016
Let me start by saying that this is not a review of the music on this album, but is entirely concerned with the physical attributes of the CD itself.
In short, this CD is unlistenable when played on my laptop through Windows Media Player, yet it's fine when I play it on my hi-fi. I suspect this may be due to the presence of DRM software on the disc.
Fortunately, the downloadable auto-rip version does play on the laptop, so that version will find its way onto my 128Gb USB stick that is usually plugged into my car stereo.
on 23 November 2010
I don't usually bother looking at reviews of albums, especially one like this that has been part of my life since I bought a vinyl version in 1968. However, no other album has a place in my life like this one. Quite simply this is the best album from the greatest rock band that has ever walked the planet. Their dependence on Jim is evident by the fact that they have produced nothing since his death worthy of The Doors name. So this is the epitaph of a rock genius. Anyway, that's my colours fastened to the mast!
This CD version is a delight. I still play vinyl, but this is a rare example of improvement when re-mastered onto CD. I think this is largely because CDs can make use of silence so much better than vinyl, so When The Music's Over springs out with a freshness that takes you back to The Roundhouse 1968, for those of us lucky enough to be there. For those that weren't, this is THE album to take you into The Doors. Play around with The Doors and Light My Fire; jump to LA Woman and it's polished musicianship, but ultimately take on this album. Someone described WTMO in disparaging terms above. Well, people are strange. Frankly, if you don't get this track then get advice!
on 8 October 2008
The simplistic history of pop music tends to see 1966/7 as the era of the creative battle between the Beatles and the Beach Boys. But 1967 also saw the release of two extraordinary albums by the Doors: THE DOORS and STRANGE DAYS. The debut album has overshadowed the second, largely because 'Light My Fire' was a superb single, covered many times by other artists, and the use of various tracks in retrospective Vietnam War films.
There's nothing quite as commercial as 'Light My Fire' in STRANGE DAYS, although there are plenty of catchy numbers. When I was a teenager, my way in to this album was via 'You're Lost, Little Girl', which is an attractive tune with a soaring jazz guitar solo in the middle. However, I've been listening to the CD intently for the past week as a result of the giveaway in the Sunday Times, and it's been a revelation.
In particularly, I don't understand how I can have overlooked 'When the Music's Over' for these 35 years or more. At more than 10 minutes long, it's just as epic as 'The End'; it also contains an extraordinarily modern guitar solo which wouldn't have been out of place on Radiohead's 'OK COMPUTER'. I can only think that my memories of the track have been conditioned by a short version. (I don't believe DOORS 13 has ever been released on CD, so I can't check whether there was a 'lite' version of the track on there.)
My previous impression had been that The Doors started and ended (L.A. WOMAN) their career with wonderful albums, with a bit of a lull in between. I have now corrected my view: the lull doesn't start until after STRANGE DAYS.